Consulting

Full support regarding compliance with international standards, and analyses based on observations of users. Techniques that only true professionals can use.

Crestec Consulting Services

Crestec has been creating manuals for use in many countries around the world for over 30 years. By taking advantage of this experience, we are able to provide the following services to our clients.

  • Measures for complying with "IEC 82079-1", "GB standards" in China, and other international standards
  • Evaluations of manuals and proposals for improvements based on checklists from the Japan Technical Communicators Association
  • Analyses of issues and proposals for improvements through usability tests

Because we are able to provide individual support in many countries and regions around the world, not just in Japan, please contact us to discuss your specific needs.

Support for Investigating International Standards Related to Descriptions Used in Manuals

Starting with the applicable international standards in the target market, Crestec provides support and investigates the national standards and compliance tests that must be cleared in each country.
Our specialized section, the ISS (International Standards Information Section), is led by experts who participated as the Japanese representatives in the development working group for IEC 82079, which is said to be the guideline for international standards. This section can accommodate various requests related to international standards.
In addition, one of our local subsidiaries belongs to the China Association for Standardization, which handles all of the latest information regarding the GB standards. Our specialized team is well prepared to assist you in entering the Chinese market.

Global Standards That Affect Manuals

For the 160 member countries of the WTO, it is their duty to use ISO/IEC and other international standards as the basis for mandatory standards and compliance test procedures in their country. If a product or manual does not meet the applicable standards, the company may not be able to sell, manufacture, or export that product.

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Examples of Consulting Cases

Safety and Precaution Text Consulting / Food Manufacturer

We investigated the legal requirements for manuals and wrote the safety and precaution text. We confirmed the actual sources of hazards for the product and checked the regulation-related information that was used in the manuals of other manufacturers.
In addition, we investigated the related regulations and confirmed whether there were any legal requirements for manuals. We then created the precaution text based on the information confirmed in the investigation.

Compliance Test for the IEC 82079-1 International Standard and Consulting / Precision Equipment Manufacturer

We evaluated the client's materials to confirm whether they comply with IEC 82079-1.
For the content in the client's manuals, catalogs, and website, we compared the descriptions with the requirements of IEC 82079-1, analyzed and evaluated each item, and provided an overall evaluation.
In addition, we provided specific text as suggestions for improvement.

Support for Compliance with CE Marking Requirements / Chemical Manufacturer

We supported the client in complying with CE marking requirements for the sale of light panels in Europe and created the manuals.
While translating the operation procedures into European languages, we performed a risk analysis of the product and investigated the safety and warning text based on the requirements of the applicable laws and regulations in each country.
Because we were able to provide complete support, from receiving the order to delivering the manual, the client was extremely pleased with our services.

Evaluation of Manuals and Consulting

At Crestec, we can evaluate manuals. Simply arranging information in order cannot produce a document that can be considered a manual. Conveying the information correctly is the role of a manual.
Based on the evaluation criteria of the Japan Technical Communicators Association, Crestec evaluates manuals objectively and fairly and suggests key points for effective improvements.
In addition, the combination of a detailed analysis using the manual evaluation and the results of our usability test can have a synergistic effect on improvements.

Benefits of Manual Evaluations and Consulting

Improved Manuals

Because we can suggest improvements based on the results of an objective evaluation, the issues facing the existing manuals can be resolved quickly.
We check the structure of the table of contents, the descriptions, and the layout of the existing manuals from a comprehensive viewpoint, and evaluate the quality of the text, ease of searching for information, ease of understanding the expressions, and other factors.

Reducing the Number of Inquiries (Calls)

Even though the recommended solution is indicated in the manual, users keep calling with the same questions. Because it is difficult to search for information in the manual, users are not able to find the information they want.
We can offer advice regarding key points for making it easy to search for and find information in manuals.

For Easy-to-Read, Appealing Manuals

To create easy-to-read manuals, it is necessary to examine an entire manual, from the individual sentences to the overall design. We are able to provide you with proposals for easy-to-read, appealing manuals from the standpoint of improving usability.

Manual Usability Test and Consulting

At Crestec, we prepare the environment in which the product is actually used, and verify whether the user can perform the procedure correctly according to the information in the manual.
By gathering information based on real use, we are able to clearly identify the key points for making the manual easy to understand. We promise to provide proposals for manuals with high usability.

Usability test test

Benefits of Usability Tests for Manuals

Discover Potential Problems

By understanding the overall image of the user's usage environment and observing each and every action from multiple angles, the product issues that could not be noticed in the design phase and the nature of those issues become clear.
The issues that can be identified from the behavior of typical users, without having any fixed opinions or preconceptions, can provide valuable hints for creating even better products.

Reducing the Number of Inquiries (Calls)

Some inquiries can be reduced simply by including one precaution sentence in the appropriate location. By understanding the product from an objective viewpoint, it is possible to notice the information that must be communicated to the user.
When the information is conveyed so that the user can use the product without any problems, the trust in the manual increases. If the user is able to resolve problems using only the manual, you can expect the number of inquiries and the associated costs to decrease.

Proposals for New Expressions

We can verify the users' actions, and determine the media that is best for conveying product information and the expressions that are easy to understand. Information can be expressed through videos, animation, computer graphics, booklets, brochures, leaflets, printed labels (stickers), apps, and many other methods.
Because Crestec has clients in various fields and has experience with a wide variety of products and service manuals, we are able to propose the method that is best suited to each product for communicating information.

Reasons for Choosing Crestec

Scientific Analysis through "Behavior Observation"

Information about conscious behavior can be drawn out as words through surveys, interviews, and other tools. However, if you want to remain two or three steps ahead of your competitors, there are hints in unconscious human behavior, which is the region that cannot be expressed in words.
"Behavior observation" looks at subconscious feelings and collects information based on scientific analysis.

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Selecting Appropriate Targets

Persons who have absolutely no interest in the product or persons who are very familiar with the product are not suitable subjects for usability tests. The reason is that you will not be able to obtain average data. In addition, although you will be able to collect a lot of data if you have many participants, costs will become too high.
Because Crestec has the know-how for selecting the proper users for effective tests, we can carry out tests according to your needs.

Setting Up the Usage Environment with Attention to Details

You will not be able to obtain useful data if you have a user come to an empty meeting room and you say, "Here is the product and the manual. Try using the product." For example, there are various environments in which a product is typically used, such as a living room with a television or a kitchen with storage areas for cups and dishes.
If order to collect data effectively, Crestec pays close attention to the details in setting up the usage environment.

Contents of Usability Tests

If the goal of the test is to extract and narrow down the list of problems with a current user guide, the investigation is carried out as follows. Note: The actual contents of the investigation are set according to the wishes of the client. Therefore, please contact us to discuss your particular needs.

  • Interview: Conduct interviews to confirm how the users normally use the product.
  • Behavior observation: Prepare the environment in which the users use the product and have the users demonstrate how they handle the product. Monitor the users and ask questions about any behavior that is notable.

Examples of Previous Usability Tests

Observing Behavior When Trouble Occurs / Food Manufacturer

We performed a usability test to confirm whether a user could refer to the manual when trouble occurred and resolve the problem without any difficulty.
We compared the explanations and descriptions (information in the manual, brochures, website, and so on) provided by the client with the actual procedures performed by the user. From the results of the test, we were able to identify the problems with the manual and we summarized our proposals for improvements in a report.

Usability Test for a Manual / Electrical Equipment Manufacturer

According to a request from a Japanese electrical equipment manufacturer, we conducted a usability test to confirm whether local users in China could install the product without any difficulty by following the installation guide provided in China.
By conducting the test in China, we were able to coordinate with the local staff and carry out the entire process locally, from selecting the participants to preparing the test environment and carrying out the actual test. Because the client was in Japan, we created the report of the test results in Japanese.